The need for a strong family unit is even more important today compared to our parents’ time.
These days, parents tend to work longer hours, and even children are forced to spend more time doing co-curricular activities to prepare them for an ever changing work environment that awaits them – not to mention the temptation of the internet.
In an ideal setting, the idea of a “home” is supposed to be a space where each family member would yearn to return to and a place where you can draw unconditional love and support from. But the reality for many families, not just in the US, but around the world, a home is where a family member just rest for the night in order to recuperate in preparation for the next day.
Some families have it worse than others, but the point is, the demands and challenges of our fast paced world is slowly contributing to the breakdown of family relationships.
Do all of that sound close to home?
Do you feel that the strong family ties you used to have are slowly being eroded by personal commitments, needs and wants?
Don’t worry, it’s not too late to change things back to what they were.
In this article, we will go through three talking points on building healthy family relationships that can help you, and your children, withstand the demands of the modern society we live in.
Let’s delve into it!
Open Communication Is Vital: Listen More, Speak Less
It is harmful for parents to assume that they’re the only ones who experience stress.
Although yes, they do have the responsibility of providing emotional and financial security for their children, kids these days also go through a lot of societal stress – something that we may not have experienced growing up.
When we were younger, we only had to contend with peer pressure coming from within our immediate circle. Kids these days on the other hand are forced to navigate a more complex social structure in the form of the internet.
Learn how to talk to your kids, not as a parent, but as a friend.
Don’t be pushy, and allow them to open up to you about things when they’re ready. And when they do, don’t go with the “back in our day” approach, as more often than not, the parameters that led to your own experiences are completely different from theirs.
Basically, you should learn how to interact with them in an emphatic way. We understand that this approach can be difficult for some. But if you want to build a united family, you should throw out the “I’m your parent, so you should listen to me because I know best” attitude, and just be a confidant to them.
Spending Time “Together” Is A Not Just About What You Want
With our busy work schedules, we understand that this is easier said than done.
But what were suggesting is to at least put an effort into finding time to spend together as a family at least one or twice a week.
For families with younger kids, this is much easier. But for those with older ones, especially teens, this can be quite an undertaking to do consistently – but you have to try.
The idea behind this is for your child to realize that whatever happens, his/her family is his/her main support group – his “gang, gang” if we use kids vernacular these days.
Family time can be in the form of family dinners, weekend trips or even just doing a movie marathon at home.
But like what was mentioned earlier, it’s not about what you want to do, but what the entire family finds enjoyable.
Yes, a bit of compromise on your part as a parent is in order. You cannot expect your kid(s) to enjoy being with you, if they’re forced to, right?
So be mindful of what your child enjoys doing. Some parents even go as far as playing computer games with their child, if only to connect and bond with them.
The mindset and playing field between child and parent relationship has changed, and as a parent, it is your responsibility to adapt.
Spend time together as their friend, and you will be their “fam 4 lyf”! 😉
Conflict Resolution: Use “I” Rather Than “You”
Conflicts are inevitable and happens even to the most close knit families.
Now what’s the “I vs You” approach?
The “I” pertains to you, or your child, expressing how he/she feels about a certain issue. The “You” approach on the other hand is the standard “blame game” which we all know usually makes things worse.
There is no denying that “I” messages can be quite complicated to express, as the person not only needs to be clear with his/her message, but also makes him/her feel a bit vulnerable as it reveals how he/she feels about a certain issue at that exact moment. On the other hand, this act of being vulnerable, if worded and delivered correctly, can effectively pacify a tense situation and lower the chances of arguments.
Here’s an example:
“I did it because I felt I wasn’t getting through to you.”
In comparison to…
“I did it because you made it difficult for me to get through to you.”
Do you see the difference?
By allowing family members to express their feelings to each other, without somewhat “attacking” one another makes it much easier to reflect on one’s actions.
The idea is that when people feel that their opinions and feelings are respected, they are more likely to reciprocate it – and are more open to resolve conflicts faster and in a more civil manner.
All three methods we mentioned came from the collective input of our team here at Kinacle. Just like you, we face the same problems majority of parents go through in trying to create a strong family.
Building a strong family is all about open communication, giving enough time to appreciate what each family member enjoys and allowing them to be vulnerable without being judged.
Hope this article helped you in some way. If you have anything to add, or have something to say about what you just read, please feel free to leave us a line at the comment section below!